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Spinoza's Book of LifeFreedom and Redemption in the Ethics$
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Steven Smith

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100198

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100198.001.0001

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Thinking about the Ethics

Thinking about the Ethics

(p.1) 1 Thinking about the Ethics
Spinoza's Book of Life

Steven B. Smith

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on what is considered one of Spinoza's most difficult books—the Ethics. This is, in part, due to the ideas that Spinoza sought to convey—the themes of substance, attribute, necessity, and eternity are inherently difficult to discuss. However, Spinoza's work is made doubly difficult by the method by which he attempted to communicate these ideas. As a work written in more geometrico, the Ethics consists of formal propositions, definitions, scholia, and corollaries, all of which are said to follow from one another in the manner of a formal geometrical proof. Taking Euclid's Elements as its model, his work is set out as a moral geometry intended to lead the reader from a condition of moral confusion and chaos to the one true way of life.

Keywords:   more geometrico, Ethics, formal geometrical proof, Euclid, moral geometry, moral confusion

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